BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bandits have one final regular season game left coming up on Saturday, but the team has been so good that it's already clinched first place and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Being able to play in front of the home crowd may be the boost that Buffalo needs to win their first National Lacrosse League title since 2008.
2 On Your Side's Brian Chojnacki caught up with Bandits veteran Dhane Smith to talk about the team's approach heading into the month of May.
Chojnacki asked what it meant to get a boost throughout the playoffs from the hometown fans.
"It means everything," Smith said. "That is our goal in the beginning of the season: to make the playoffs and then win a championship. I think a lot of teams say that they hate playing in Buffalo because our fans are crazy and loud. They are our seventh man."
It's been three years since the Bandits have made it to the championship. Due to COVID, the NLL has not had a postseason since the 2019 season, when Buffalo lost to Calgary in the finals.
The team is using past championship experiences as valuable lessons to get it done this year.
"I have a different way to approach things this time around than 2019, when we last made it to the finals," Smiith said. "I think we have that edge, we are hungry, but again, we have to take it game by game."
"The NLL does highlight videos of championships being won, and you kind of see every year that I have been part of it. So 2016, the Saskatchewan Rush holding the trophy, then 2019 obviously, that flashes up all the time on my news feed. It makes me hungrier and makes me want to win that much more. I need to produce just as much as I was, if not more, and I am looking forward to the challenge."
The Bandits close out the regular season Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against Toronto before they start their postseason run in May.